Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko defended the invasion of Moscow in an interview Thursday, but admitted that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has continued longer than expected.
Lukashenko claims that the Kyiv government is “provoking Russia” Said The Associated Press “isn’t so absorbed in this issue that, as the Russians say, or as I feel, it’s going as planned.”
“I would like to emphasize once again. I feel that this operation has been prolonged,” he told the outlet several times in interviews, describing the conflict as a “war.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was Washington that was driving the conflict, rather than seeking a conflict with NATO.
Before the February 24 invasion began, Belarus allowed Russia to stage part of its army along the border with Ukraine. Lukashenko had previously stated that his army would not participate in the conflict, but Russia also has an important supply line throughout Belarus, which is considered one of Russia’s closest allies.
Belarus faced more sanctions from the United States and Europe as Lukashenko supported his allies. After the conflict began, the United States suspended all embassies in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
“We are determined not to accept any war. We have done everything so far so that no war will occur. Thank you very much. That is, negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have begun. “Lukashenko, who has been in charge of Belarus since the early 1990s, added. Meanwhile, he called on Russia and the West not to use nuclear weapons, saying that such a move is “unacceptable” because Ukraine is “just next door” to Belarus.
“It’s also unacceptable because it may knock our ground ball flying out of orbit to someone who knows where it is,” he said. “Whether Russia makes it possible is a question that needs to be asked to Russian leaders.”
Lukashenko also said in a report that his country had conducted military exercises this week that Belarus would not pose a threat to neighboring or other countries.
“We don’t threaten anyone, we don’t intend to threaten, we don’t. Moreover, we can’t threaten … because we know who opposes us, some kind of conflict, To unleash some kind of war here … it will never be in the interests of the Belarusian state, so the West can sleep peacefully, “he said.
On Thursday, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told the press that Ukrainian troops had repelled Russian troops trying to seize the Azovstal ironworks in Mariupol, the site of a recent fierce battle.
“It can be said that yesterday Russian troops entered the territory of Azofustari and were repelled by our defenders,” he said. Said.. “Negotiations with Russia are underway [on new evacuation corridors]And all diplomatic authorities are involved, “the official added.